The Islanders aren’t done sending notices to the NHL, and they sent a big one on Monday night when they defeated the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in Game 1 of their second-round series.
Both of general manager Lou Lamoriello’s trade-deadline acquisitions in defenseman Andy Greene and center J.G. Pageau scored — the latter a part of a three-goal third-period that iced the series opener for the Islanders, which was more than enough for Semyon Varlamov, who shined yet again this postseason.
New York’s veteran netminder, in his first year with the club, recorded his second-straight shutout of the playoffs, turning aside all 29 shots he faced. The 32-year-old shutout the Washington Capitals in Game 5 on Thursday to clinch a first-round series victory for the Islanders.
They continued to practice what they preached throughout previous series this postseason, aggressively coming at the Flyers to start the night to set an early tone.
Veteran defenseman Andy Greene, who has run with the opportunity to play after Johnny Boychuk went out in the qualifiers with an injury, gave the Islanders their deserved opener 6:06 into the night when his long slapper from the blue line went untouched through a forest of bodies and under the arm of Carter Hart.
It was Greene’s first goal since the Islanders acquired him from the New Jersey Devils before the trade deadline earlier this year and his first playoff goal since 2010, which also came against the Flyers.
If not for Hart, the Flyers’ deficit would have been greater in the first period, most notably on his sprawling glove save on a wide-open Brock Nelson one-timer to his left with just under six minutes to go in the period.
Granted, if not for Greene, the Flyers might have had one or two as well, but the Islanders defenseman made a pair of big-time blocks on key Flyers chances in the final half of the frame.
For as good as the Islanders were in the first, the Flyers were in the second as they dominated a majority of the frame. The main difference, however, was that Philadelphia couldn’t find the back of the net as Varlamov turned away all 15 shots thrown his way.
Out of nothing, the Islanders nabbed their second just 2:56 into the second period when a the forecheck of Ross Johnston and Leo Komarov won the puck in the left corner behind Hart’s goal. The third-line wingers were able to chip the puck out and find Pageau all alone, who quickly sniped his chance through Hart.
Six minutes later, the Islanders got a third on the counter-attack. On an odd-man rush originating from their own zone, Jordan Eberle streaked down the right-wing into the Flyers’ zone where he centered for Barzal, who immediately went to the left wing for Lee, who one-timed it home for a 3-0 lead.
With eight minutes left in the game, the Flyers made the aggressive move of pulling Hart for an extra attacker, but Devon Toews made them pay when his clearance from his own zone found the back of the net.